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Managing Your Workflow Pt. II: Mastering Your Inbox

Since our goal should always be to work on the highest impact work possible, we need to make sure we don't get stuck in our inboxes.

Now that your Gmail is set up for success, let's talk about how you're going to work through your inbox efficiently.

1. Keep your Google Chat closed. We use Slack to communicate as a team -- and you'll never win your workday with your friends G-Chatting you constantly.

2. If you've had your account active for awhile, consider using a service like unroll.me to unsubscribe en masse from unwanted newsletters.

3. If you need to receive email that serves purely as a reference for a future task, consider setting up a filter/rule so that emails from that source skip your inbox and go directly into a specific folder, which you can reference later when completing the associated task.

4. Practice what I like to call active inboxing -- meaning that when you open your email, your intention should be one of two things:
  • to quickly check for urgent emails when moving between tasks or meetings
  • to work through your inbox, take all of the appropriate actions needed on your new emails, and get back to higher impact work
I recommend working through your inbox 3-4 times per day (and bringing it down to 0 each time) and then closing your email will working on other tasks, in order to minimize distractions. Remember that the time it takes you to complete a task is largely dependent on your ability to minimize distractions while undertaking it.

When working through your inbox, I highly recommend the following step-by-step protocol to efficiently move through your email:

You'll notice that this process ends by archiving all of your emails and moving the tasks that take 20 minutes or more to Asana. Now that your inbox is down to 0 and all of your >20 minute tasks are moved over, let's talk about Managing Your Workflow Pt. III: Using Asana To Prioritize Tasks & Manage Your Workflow.